Demonstrators in Northampton hail nuclear weapons ban

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  • Vicki Elson of NuclearBan.US posts a copy of the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on the front door of L3Harris in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Marty Nathan, center, of Climate Action Now, speaks to about 75 people protesting at L3Harris in Northampton on Friday to mark the entry into force of the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • About 30 people carry banners down the driveway of L3Harris in Northampton during a demonstration to mark the entry into force of the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 50 nations on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Joaini Herrera Diaz, right, of NuclearBan.US listens as Sister Clare Carter of the Leverett Peace Pagoda offers a prayer at a demonstration outside L3Harris in Northampton on Friday, Jan. 22, marking the entry into force of the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Lindsay Koshgarian of the National Priorities Project speaks to about 75 people taking part in a demonstration outside L3Harris in Northampton on Friday, Jan. 22, to mark the entry into force of the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with its ratification by the first 50 countries. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Vicki Elson of Treaty Alignment and NuclearBan.US holds aloft a notice she was about to post on the front door of L3Harris in Northampton on Friday, Jan. 22, the first day that the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was entered into force in 50 ratifying countries. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Pat Hynes of the Traprock Peace Center speaks to about 75 people taking part in a demonstration outside L3Harris in Northampton on Friday, Jan. 22, to mark the entry into force of the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 50 countries. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Sister Clare Carter of the Leverett Peace Pagoda speaks to about 75 people taking part in a demonstration outside L3Harris in Northampton on Friday to mark the entry into force of the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, center, speaks to about 75 people taking part in a demonstration outside L3Harris in Northampton on Friday, Jan. 22, to mark the entry into force of the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with its ratification by the first 50 countries. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Three of the Raging Grannies, from left, Joni Sexauer of Northampton, Elo-Mai Noormets of Vermont and Mona Scott of Easthampton, and about 30 others walk out the driveway of L3Harris in Northampton following a demonstration to mark the entry into force of the 2017 U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on Friday, Jan. 22. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 1/22/2021 8:17:10 PM

NORTHAMPTON – More than 70 people protested Friday outside L3Harris Technologies’ 50 Prince St. location to celebrate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons going into force, and ask that L3Harris exit the nuclear weapons business.

The treaty, which has been ratified by 52 nations, went into effect Friday for the first 50 nations that ratified it. The treaty bans the possession, manufacture, testing or development of nuclear weapons, while also making it illegal to assist or encourage others to do so. Among those countries are Mexico, Ireland, Cuba and Nigeria.

“We waited 75 years for this treaty and today’s the day,” said Vicki Elson, creative director of NuclearBan.US.

L3Harris works as a subcontractor to Northup Grumman in developing a replacement for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile system, the ground-based delivery system for America’s nuclear weapons.

The system L3Harris is working on is the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, and according to NuclearBan.US, the company’s main role is to initially design and field the training program for the system. This work is not being done at the Northampton location, however.

NuclearBan.US and The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice helped to organize the protest, which featured a number of people in white jumpsuits with “Treaty Compliance Unit” emblems on them. Protesters from both groups also demonstrated earlier in the day at the Pittsfield location of General Dynamics, an aerospace and defense corporation. Another gathering will take place Saturday in Greenfield.

The treaty will continue to go into effect in other countries, 90 days after each ratification, with Friday seeing Cambodia becoming the 52nd country to ratify it.

Locally, Northampton and Easthampton have policies in place that prohibit them from doing business with companies in the nuclear weapons industry, in alignment with the treaty.

No nuclear-armed nations — including the United States — have signed or ratified the treaty.

Friday’s protest featured numerous signs and banners and was met with a number of encouraging honks from passing motorists. It also featured speakers from many social justice and faith organizations.

“President Biden, sign that treaty now,” said Priscilla Lynch of Western Mass CODEPINK.

A number of speakers spoke about reinvesting the money spent on nuclear weapons on such things as clean energy and health care.

“We cannot afford to spend $20 billion a year on nuclear weapons. We must turn our resources to save lives,” said Lindsay Koshgarian, program director of the Northampton-based National Priorities Project.

State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, D-Northampton, also spoke at the protest. Sabadosa got a home-rule petition signed into law last year that allows Northampton to refuse to do business with companies in the nuclear weapons industry. She said she has introduced legislation during this session that would establish a special commission to study the existential threat of nuclear weapons to Massachusetts.

“I believe that this is the session that we can do something,” Sabadosa said.

Additionally, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester, released a video Friday praising the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and expressing a desire for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

After the speakers finished, activists marched to the entrance of L3Harris, where they taped a sign to the door saying the company was not in compliance with the treaty, along with a copy of the treaty and a letter explaining the treaty and suggesting that L3Harris get out of the nuclear weapons business.

“I think it was an amazing turnout,” said Miranda Groux, program director at The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, of the protest.

The parking lot of L3Harris was largely empty during the protest, something that activists said was not usual.

“Normally this parking lot would be full,” Elson said.




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